Why did you choose to pursue an MA in Fashion at Ryerson and what did you gain from completing the program?
I was introduced to the fashion industry while teaching in Kenya. One of my colleagues had friends in the industry and her knowledge opened up a whole new world that I never knew existed. I registered in the MA program for two reasons: to be part of a Masters Program and to gain more insight about the industry. I gained significant hands on experience through the internship opportunities that I was presented with as a Masters student.
What are your research interests/areas?
My research interest orbits around the world of streetwear culture, a genre stemming from the skate, music, punk, and fashion scene that passes back and forth between New York, London, and Tokyo. I am very also interested in the development of military appropriation into menswear.
Where are you now and how has your degree aided you in your current position?
I am currently working in New York at a wholesale agency, where I head the marketing department for a number of men’s and women’s brands. I also am an agent for two clothing lines from Japan and London. My degree allowed me to get internship opportunities in the New York market. I also do personal shopping for clients in the music and entertainment industry.
What interests you most about the discipline of Fashion Studies?
I was intrigued by the buying and dressing habits of men who have (over the ages) adopted styles from their female counterparts. I am also interested in the political and social situations that drive sales in a specific category. For example, men that buy a certain type of footwear because they feel those shoes are a representation of their job, stature, and interests.
What item in your wardrobe could you never part with and why?
There are actually three items that I have in my wardrobe that I call my staples: a pair of really broken in denim, a pair of Visvim FBT sneakers, and a navy Yankee ball cap. The jeans have been with me for almost 7 years and are something that I always travel with. The Visvim sneakers were a pair I purchased to write a paper on and were a “grailed” item for me. The Yankee cap is something I purchased when I first moved to NY as an intern and has become something that I always have on.
Who’s your favourite fashion designer and why?
Takayuki Fuji is the designer from a Japanese line called nonnative. He finds a great balance between the cultural references he uses for each collection and incorporating current trends to result in a classic collection. His color palette is refreshing, bright at times but very wearable. The other designer and creative director that I have a very high regard for is Carlo Rivetti from STONE ISLAND. I have had the chance to work with S.I for the past year and his eagerness to revolutionize his work is inspiring. I had the chance to spend some time with him this past weekend and he told me how he always looks to the future, because he has already done what he wanted in the past.
What course did you most enjoy and why?
Color Theory with Alice Chu. She taught me many things to consider when it comes to selecting colors for specific ethnicities. It has been very useful and is a big factor in my current work. I work mostly with men and turns out 12% of men are completely colorblind.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d pass on to a student interested in applying to the program?
Get involved. Take part in anything that catches your eye and has you wondering.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years and/or what’s your dream job?
I see myself working everyday on the start-up I am currently putting together. I want to make mobile shopping for menswear an easy, comfortable experience. And I want to have a bulldog and 3 kids.